ALBUQUERQUE – A Los Lunas man claimed a $1 million prize from the New Mexico Lottery today.
In Friday’s Mega Millions® drawing, Ricardo Abeyta had a quick-pick ticket that matched the winning white ball numbers of 17, 21, 36, 58 and 70, beating odds of 1 in approximately 18.4 million. Abeyta missed the yellow Mega Ball of 3 to win the night’s jackpot of $15 million.
Abeyta discovered his good fortune Sunday morning when he stopped at a store on his way to work. The store’s self-service ticket checker printed a message that read, “Claim at Lottery.”
“I knew I had won something big,” he said. Before leaving the store, Abeyta used his smart phone to check the lottery’s website and learned that a $1 million prize had been won in Friday’s drawing. He called girlfriend Brenda Marquez immediately.
“I said, ‘I can’t breathe right now. I can’t breathe. I think I actually won,’” Abeyta recalled for lottery officials in Albuquerque.
“I thought he was having medical issues,” Marquez said.
“I’ve been playing for years, but luck is luck,” Abeyta said. “I’m grateful for what I do have, but I’ve never won anything like this before. It feels unreal.”
Abeyta, who said he’ll save his prize for retirement, purchased his lucky ticket at the Corner Store located at 1775 Main St. SW in Los Lunas. Previously, the store has sold nine large prize-winning tickets paying between $1,000 and $18,000.
For selling the $1 million-winning ticket to Abeyta, the Corner Store is eligible for a $2,500 New Mexico Lottery bonus.
In June 2012, another store in Valencia County sold a Mega Millions ticket paying a $1 million prize. Winner Danny Garcia of Veguita bought his lucky quick-pick ticket at Young Baca’s Kicks 66 located at 1304 S. Main St. in Belen.
Legislative Lottery Scholarships
All profits from the sale of New Mexico Lottery games fund an in-state college tuition assistance program. Since 1996, the New Mexico Lottery has raised $636 million for education and more than 97,000 students have attended college on Legislative Lottery Scholarships. As of the Spring 2014 semester, nearly 4,000 students from Valencia County have received $21.4 million in scholarships.
More information about Legislative Lottery Scholarships is available at www.nmlottery.com.